One point of W/C law that has become clear in the past few years since I started this blog: the First DCA sees no difference in a Claimant taxing costs and an Employer/Carrier taxing costs.  The Court ruled that the procedure is the same as a Claimant seeking taxable costs and they ruled that Claimant can be considered a “non-prevailing party” subject to cost taxation.

Now comes a new case confirming that there are no time limits for an E/C to file a motion to tax costs against a Claimant. . . at least for now.

In Shackleford v. CTL Distribution, the JCC issued a final order, denying PTD benefits, in November 2007.  The E/C did not file its motion to tax costs until November 2008.  Claimant objected on the grounds that the motion was untimely. 

Considering there is no time limit for a Claimant to file a Verified Fee Petition to tax fees and costs  against an E/C, Claimant’s objection is specious at best.  The JCC found no mandate under chapter 440 or administrative rule that would allow him to impose such a time limit.  The First DCA agreed and denied the appeal.  However, the Court did make a suggestion to the Legislature that such a time limit be imposed like Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.525, which requires for non-W/C civil cases a  motion to tax costs be filed within 30 days of the filing of the judgement or dismissal.

This would make sense if the Legislature were to amend chapter 440.  I argued for many years that Claimant attorneys be forced to have a statute of limitations on when they can file a fee petition.  For many claims, the E/C cannot close the file for fear of a pending fee petition.  Even if the time limit would apply to E/C’s as well, such a law would tremendously streamline the litigation practice.

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